The English Premier League is the most watched and competitive football league in the world. The Matchday one fixtures clearly epitomise this fact. Games to watch include, Manchester United v Leicester City, Arsenal v Manchester City and Liverpool FC and West Ham United.
The history between these two teams from the last three seasons depicts a struggling Arsenal side against a strongly growing Manchester City. Arsenal finished second in the 2015/16 season while Manchester City finished fourth. Fast forward, last season, Manchester City were champions but the Gunners finished a disappointing 6th.
The real rivalry started in the 2011/12 season when Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri crossed from Arsenal to Manchester City. Also, there has been a resemblance in playing styles between the two teams when Pep Guardiola assumed as the coach. Each team has a legacy to protect; Arsenal’s 2003/4 Invincible Record and the last season triple-digit points in the Premier League’s history by the citizens.
Last season, Man City had their largest goal difference of 79, with Sergio Aguero raking 21 goals. Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane each had 18, 13 and 10 goals. The arrival of Mahrez is a clear sign that Pep will spread out the midfield and attack in developing the three-tier (4-3-3 or 3-5-2) playing formation.
On the other side, Arsenal’s top scorers were Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who had 14 and 10 goals respectively. They have since welcomed Unai Emery to Emirates Stadium. He had a brilliant record in Spain and France. If replicated, it can recharge the Gunner’s ammunition. The fans will see how he’ll revitalise their 4-2-3-1 formation.
What makes this game a must watch is because it is the inaugural game of the 2018/19 English Premier League season and the fight for Maguire’s signature. Leicester City exemplary 2015/16 Premier League season improved their ratings. That team has since been reduced with the sale of N’Golo Kante to Chelsea and recently Mahrez to Manchester City. However, the defiant Jamie Vardy is still in form, giving the foxes 20 goals last season.
Manchester United needs no introduction. They are the most successful British club with 20 Premier League titles. The stats favour them to win this game. As they run for Boateng’s signature, the Red Devils are keen to bolster their defence as Mourinho tries a back three formation. In attack, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez need to increase on their 25 goals tally achieved last season.
Of the two, statistics favour Liverpool. The 2015/16 season saw a resilient West Ham side beat Liverpool 5 – 0 in both legs. Although the Hammers finished 8th, a rank below the Reds, their season’s tally was impressive, compared to the two subsequent seasons. Last season, Marko Arnautovic had 11 goals for the Hammers; a performance has catapulted his stature, with Manchester United and AS Roma chasing for his signature.
Liverpool finished 8th in the 2015/16 season but has since improved and finished 4th in both the 2016/17 and 2017/18 season, and runners’ up in the UEFA Champions League last season. This impressive run is attributed to Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino with 57 goals among them. Klopp has since brought in Allison from Roma, to seal the backline.
Below you can find the full list of the remaining games for the opening weekend of the 2018/19 season.
Saturday 11th August, Kick-Off @ 1500hrs (Unless Stated)
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